Your mind is probably running wild with questions like “Is it safe to still train?” “What exercises can I do that is safe?” and “What if I haven’t trained prior to pregnancy?” You will be surprised to hear that it is actually encouraged and recommended that you maintain as active as possible during your pregnancy – for not only your own health and wellness but the little bundle of joy growing inside of you as well! Yes, there are actual benefits for your baby as well if you keep up an active lifestyle throughout your 9 months of pregnancy.  So, if you ever wondered what the actual benefits of training during pregnancy is and why it comes highly recommended – keep reading to find out all the great reasons to keep active during this phase of your life.

Benefits for the mom & baby

1) You are likely to gain less weight

So your weight gain during pregnancy is determined by your pre-pregnancy BMI (body mass index) – the higher your BMI, the less weight you are allowed to gain.  So yes that does mean if you had a low BMI before pregnancy your doctor is probably going to advise you to gain between 12-16kg.  Do keep in mind this is very individualised and specific to every pregnancy and is just a guideline.  However, staying active and fit throughout your pregnancy actually helps you control the weight you gain and it has been shown that woman who exercised during pregnancy gained ±3kg less than the women who did not.

2) Labor and delivery may be easier

This is also an individualised factor – but a strong core and good cardiovascular fitness can give you more “oomph” during the pushing phase – meaning you are less likely to tire during a long labor/delivery.  Not only does it help with the birthing process, it is also shown to improve recovery after birth and cope better with the new demands of motherhood.

3) Your baby will be leaner

It has been shown that mothers who stayed physically active during their pregnancies delivered leaner babies, and it has been proved by studies that if one or both parents are overweight/obese, the baby will most likely be born with excessive fat as well.

4) Less aches and pains during pregnancy

You are less likely to complain from that nasty back pain majority women get, especially closer towards the end of pregnancy.  It helps maintain a strong core which in turn helps keep your posture strong.

5) You may be less prone to morning sickness

When comparing fit moms-to-be and those who sat out for the 9 months, it was reported that the fit moms suffered from a lot less morning sickness, if at all.  Now who wouldn’t want this benefit?

6) Your child may have a healthier heart

The developing babies of prenatal exercising mommies have stronger hearts, and this higher level of cardiovascular fitness lasts well into their childhood – setting your kid up early in life for a healthy lifestyle as well.

7) Lowers your risk of preeclampsia

This complication involves high blood pressure & excess protein in the urine.  This is a very dangerous condition and can lead to premature birth.  Being physically active in combination with a healthy diet lowers your risk of developing preeclampsia.

8) Avoiding or lessening the baby-blues

We all have heard about the baby-blues, or postpartum depression.  This leads to even further problems like sleep deprivation and marital problems.  Exercising releases the “happy hormones” (endorphins) and can help keep those baby blues at bay, especially if you exercise outdoors due to the sunlight exposure as well.

9) Improves your mood/well-being

Yes, those pregnancy mood swings are not a myth (sorry husbands).  However, you can help keep them in tact a little bit better by staying active and keeping the endorphins flowing and as a result – a happier mommy-to-be (as well as daddies).

These are just to mention a few of the benefits – the list really does go on and on and on! So if any or all of these sound like something you would want to achieve during your pregnancy – get your bum and belly exercise moving!

Note** Please always check with your medical doctor that you are cleared for training without any contraindications.

Annéke da Silva
Pre/Postnatal Exercise Specialist & Doula

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